This supplement may decrease HPV-related cancers, according to a new study – Eat This Not That


Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted disease. Over 200 HPV strains have been identified, of which 100 can infect humans. Most of these HPV infections are benign, but there are 15 that have been identified as high-risk HPV associated with a risk of cancer. While the majority of people clear HPV infections in less than two years, it is those patients with persistent infections who are at risk of developing cancer. As a professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at McGovern Medical School, UTHealth Houston, I have spent more than 20 years researching women’s health and looking more specifically for a way to eliminate persistent, high-risk HPV infections can cause cancer. Read on to learn more – and to protect your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure signs you already had COVID.


HPV affects more than 80 percent of sexually active adults at least once in their lives. HPV infection can be transmitted through intimate direct skin-to-skin contact. Yes, using a barrier shield during sexual activity helps reduce the rate of transmission, but HPV transmission can still occur without the exchange of bodily fluids. Like most sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), reinfections are common when someone is exposed to multiple new partners over the course of their lifetime. Unlike other STDs, there are currently no tests available for men. Women are not routinely tested for HPV until after age 25 unless they have an abnormal PAP smear before age 25. So the challenge is that most adults don’t know they have high-risk HPV until it causes a problem. There are two primary types of HPV infection: low-risk and high-risk. Low-risk HPV is associated with benign lesions or warts. Persistent high-risk HPV infects cellular DNA and increases the risk of developing six HPV-associated cancers, the two most common of which are cervical cancer and head and neck cancer. Persistent high-risk HPV infections can last for years without problems until triggered by another insult, such as poor diet, physiological or psychological stress, or weakened immune function.

Vaginal swab

Low-risk HPV infections are associated with genital warts and can take on the appearance of flat lesions, cauliflowers, or raised bumps that appear anywhere on the genital area and are usually not painful but may be itchy. Luckily, low-risk HPV infections, while uncomfortable and disfiguring, are not associated with cancer. Low-risk HPV infections are common and nothing to panic about, but they are a sign to see a doctor and get checked out. The doctor will perform tests specifically designed to detect the presence of HPV and provide treatment based on the diagnosis. Conversely, high-risk HPV infections are not associated with physical symptoms, underscoring the importance of regular screening including HPV DNA testing with cytopathology (PAP smear). This enables early detection and intervention in the event of abnormal cell changes. When women are diagnosed with high-risk HPV, they often have no signs of cell damage that could lead to cancer, but all we can do is “keep waiting” screening. This scenario is one of the many reasons that led to the start of our research to find an effective intervention to eliminate persistent HPV infection.

Vaginal swab.  closeup.

Options for the management of HPV infection have traditionally been local treatment of the affected area. This may include procedures such as cold knife excision (CONE) or the electrosurgical loop excision (LEEP) procedure, which can remove the affected tissue but do not eliminate the HPV or the risk of future problems. Recently, our research team from McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston published the first systemic approach to treat persistent high-risk HPV infection. The results of this phase II randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, focused on women with a history of persistent high-risk HPV for more than two years. The study, published in Frontiers in oncology, included 22 patients in the intervention arm of the study who received AHCC supplementation for six months followed by six months with a placebo, and 19 participants in the placebo arm of the study who received placebo for the entire 12 months of the study. Results showed that in 63.6% (14 of 22 participants), AHCC supplementation cleared high-risk HPV infection with no adverse side effects. The results of the Phase II study are consistent with previous findings from two pilot studies evaluating AHCC supplementation in women with persistent HPV infections.

Female doctor talking while explaining medical treatment to patient through video call with laptop in consultation.

Unlike other mushroom extracts, AHCC is an extract derived from the mycelium (roots) of Lentinula edodes mushrooms and contains primarily alpha-glucans and polysaccharides that modulate the immune response to regain its ability to clear persistent HPV infection. As with all dietary supplements, talk to your doctor before taking AHCC to make sure it’s a good choice for you.

Most people who eat a healthy diet are getting the appropriate amounts of vitamins and nutrients to naturally support the immune system. However, supplementing with vitamin D, folic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, and probiotics to optimize the gastrointestinal tract microbiome can help boost the immune system even further. A quick blood test with your doctor can tell you if you’re getting the right nutrients, if you need to make some changes to your diet, or even consider supplementing for one of these or other critical vitamins and nutrients. Given how common HPV infection is among sexually active adults, a healthy immune system may not protect you from infection, but it can help you fight it off.

Happy practitioner holding syringe and smiling

HPV infections are difficult to avoid. Most sexually active people will get HPV at some point in their lives. Awareness and education about HPV infection and the potential long-term risk is important for anyone who will be or has been sexually active. Although most cases go away naturally and without intervention, there are basic steps you can take to protect yourself from the effects of high-risk infections. Getting vaccinated, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, attending annual wellness appointments and checkups with your doctor, and asking your doctor about taking AHCC to support your immune system in the face of an infection could help in both your short and long term make all the difference in your long-term situation. term health.

Judith A. Smith, BS, Pharm.D., BCOP, CPHQ, FCCP, FHOPA, FISOPP is Professor and Director of the Integrative Medicine Research Program for Women’s Health at UTHealth McGovern Medical School Houston, TX, USA.

Judith A Smith

Judith A. Smith, BS, Pharm.D., BCOP, CPHQ, FCCP, FHOPA, FISOPP is Professor and Director of the Integrative Medicine Research Program for Women’s Health at UTHealth McGovern Medical School Houston, TX, USA. Continue reading


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